Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

Attention Genealogists! Your Ancestry Library Edition Has New Resources!

While new content is added, and updated regularly, in your Ancestry Library Edition database, the following new resources are especially noteworthy for 2013:

1. Public Member Trees
Public Member Trees have become the bridge between individual researchers and original records/sources to tell the family story. Many clues about family history can be found in these trees, which include photos, personal stories, etc. Nearly 40 million trees have been contributed by more than two million Ancestry.com members. Until now these trees were visible only to paying members of Ancestry.com (These members have indicated that their tree(s) can be viewed by all Ancestry members). The trees can change over time as users edit, remove, or otherwise modify the data.

The Fine Print: The trees in the Library Edition are read-only. Library patrons cannot edit the existing trees or add new trees. Information about living people is not shown. Each Public Member Tree is owned by the individual who put it on Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com does not verify that any tree or fact is correct, nor will they correct or edit a tree. Library patrons will not have the ability to contact the owner of the tree. Library patrons can submit anonymous comments about any tree.

2. U.S. City Directories
This new feature is a collection of directories for U.S. cities and counties in various years. The database currently contains directories for all states except Alaska. Coverage is 1821-1989. Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.The Gale City Directories Collection is included. Searching locally? The Ancestry Library Edition has Ann Arbor Directories from 1886 to 1960!
TIP: Use the Ancestry Card Catalog feature to go directly to U.S. City Directories.

Interested in more information? Join us for our upcoming Genealogy Online Research Class: Thursday March 14, 2013: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch or check out our collection of Genealogy materials.

AADL Talks to Kathy Kelley

Kathy Kelly moved into the Hill Street houses when she was very young, but she recalls her life there as a member of the White Panther Party as a positive, life-changing personal experience and social experiment. Kathy talks about daily life in the commune with her friends and colleagues, some of the events she participated in, including the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, as well as her apprenticeship as a graphic artist under legendary rock poster artist, Gary Grimshaw. Kathy's experience with the White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party led to a successful career in art direction for publishing with magazines such as Chicago, Outside, CREEM, and most especially in educational publishing with Weekly Reader Corporation and Scholastic.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Kathy_Kelley.mp3 26.3 MB

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain

Forty-four years ago, on November 10, 1968, Neil Young (whose critically-acclaimed autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippy Dream is currently a New York Times bestseller) recorded the song "Sugar Mountain" here in Ann Arbor at the now-legendary Canterbury House, then located at the end of this alley at 330 Maynard.

Recorded between the time of Young's membership with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, this ode to lost youth written four years earlier was acknowledged by fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell (who also played the Canterbury House) as the inspiration for her similarly-themed, The Circle Game. It's one of Young's earliest and more traditional folk songs, and the sincerity evident in this live recording is underscored by its remarkable intimacy.

Check out Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House in our CD collection and some of our Oldnews articles about Ann Arbor's Canterbury House, at the time a coffee house music venue and center for outreach programs associated with St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Local writer Alan Glenn wrote a great article about the Canterbury House in a recent issue of Michigan Today.

AADL Talks to Argus Employees and Museum Curator

Do you ever wonder what it was like to work for one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world?

AADL talked to Art Parker, an avowed “Townie” who spent nearly 20 years with Argus Camera. Art talked about his family’s long history with Argus and the company’s social life that included Christmas parties, teen dances, summer camp, scholarships and profit-sharing.

We also talked with Milt Campbell, Art Dersham and Elwyn Dersham about their years at Argus during its heyday in the 1940s and 50s and the challenging years of the 1960s and 70s as the company’s fortunes declined and Argus left Ann Arbor forever.

Cheryl Chidester, the Argus Museum curator shared the history of the company, its products and innovations, and its role in United States’ victory in World War II. We also learned about the founding of the Argus Museum, its missions in preserving the history and material culture of this early Ann Arbor industry significant to generations in the community.

AADL Talks to Cheryl Chidester, Argus Museum Curator

We would like to thank the Argus Museum, located in the original Argus Building at 535 W. William St. for generously sharing its resources, artifacts, and archival materials in preparing this AADL exhibit on the Argus Camera, Inc.

A special thank you goes to Cheryl Chidester, the Argus Museum curator. In this podcast, she shared the history of the company, its products and innovations, and its role in United States’ victory in World War II. We also learned about the founding of the Argus Museum, its missions in preserving the history and material culture of this early Ann Arbor industry significant to generations in the community.

We can see photos of the Museum and its exhibits as well as samples of the Argus Eye, a monthly newsletter produced by the Argus employees from the Museum’s archive.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Cheryl_Chedister.mp3 13.14 MB

AADL Talks to Argus Camera's Milt Campbell, Art & Elwyn Dersham

In this episode, AADL talks to former employees of Argus Camera. In 1931, a group of Ann Arbor businessmen got together to address the problem of unemployment amid the Great Depression. They raised stock and formed a company that would become Argus Camera. Argus went on to become one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world.

We talked with Milt Campbell, Art Dersham and Elwyn Dersham about their years at Argus during its heyday in the 1940s and 50s and the challenging years of the 1960s and 70s as the company’s fortunes declined and Argus left Ann Arbor forever.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Argus_Employees.mp3 15.21 MB

AADL Talks To Argus Camera's Art Parker

In this episode, AADL talks to Art Parker, an avowed “Townie” who spent nearly 20 years with Argus Camera. During its heyday in the 1940s and 50s, Argus was one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world. Art talks about his family’s long history with Argus and the company’s social life that included Christmas parties, teen dances, summer camp, scholarships and profit-sharing.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Art_Parker.mp3 18.13 MB

Police Beat: Punk Rocker's Bad Gig

In 1989 Kevin Michael Allin, aka G.G. Allin, and his punk rock band Toilet Rockers gave a concert at the East Quad's Halfway Inn. The band was known for it's in-your-face onstage antics that included self-inflicted beatings, nudity and fights with the audience. Unfortunately, things got out of hand and Allin was charged with three counts of assault including kicking a member of the audience, hitting another one with a chair and then following the concert, beating and burning a "groupie." After declaring Charles Manson his "hero", Allin was ordered to undergo psychiatric examination. He eventually pleaded no contest to the charges.

While serving his term Allin vowed to begin a hunger strike that never materialized and was considered a publicity stunt . Not long after his parole Allin was again arrested in Milwaukee on disorderly conduct charges that included throwing bodily discharges at the audience. After more than 50 arrests the leader of the Murder Junkies, Toilet Rockers and Disappointments, died in New York City of an apparent overdose. Despite his many run-ins with the law, Allin was a prolific recording artist and his "official "website offers his CDs, DVDs and artwork for sale.

50th Anniversary of the Port Huron Statement

Tom Hayden at Ann Arbor fundraiser, 1985Tom Hayden at Ann Arbor fundraiser, 1985

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the now-legendary Port Huron Statement, a manifesto written by “Students for a Democratic Society” (SDS) at a retreat on Lake Huron in 1962. From October 31 - November 2, the University of Michigan is hosting A New Insurgency: The Port Huron Statement in Its Time and Ours, a free 3-day public conference exploring the significance of the Port Huron Statement and its social, political and cultural consequences for the New Left of the 1960s - from anti-war movements to civil rights and women’s liberation movements. We’ve pulled together articles from our Oldnews archive about the Students for a Democratic Society, featuring SDS co-founders Tom Hayden and Alan Haber and reflections from other New Left activists over the intervening years.

The Beer Depot sign, 1967

Beer Depot signBeer Depot sign

An article in annarbor.com posted yesterday reports that the historic Beer Depot drive-thru sign will finally be repaired and restored at the East William street business after a storm blew it down last year and owners had to work through city ordinance restrictions.

For this and other signs from 1960s and 1970s-era Ann Arbor, check out our great collection of historic signs.

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